I’ve been so lucky to have some fabulous guest posts while I’m away. My final one is from…
You guessed it, a dude.
Chuck has been reading this blog since the beginning. I know, I’m surprised he’s stuck around for so long too. But on top of all that, he’s also battled an eating disorder. Something that is taboo in the male world. Anyhow, he’s been kind enough to contribute and share his story.
So without further ado…..
I give you Chuck:
Think about how many blogs out there track the amazing journey of people ﬁghting
through and conquering their eating disorders and struggles with food, exercise, and
life. Now, how many of those blogs are authored by men? I can think of about 5, mine
(http://feerlessfood.com/) being one of them.
But contrary to the common perception, eating disorders in guys are more likely than
you make think, and sadly, to what most guys think as well. The purpose of this post is
to say that many people donʼt see it, and at the same time, men going through it donʼt
realize it either.
After football season in 9th grade of high school, my weight began to go down. I donʼt
know really why I started doing what I did, but I told myself that I would be faster. But
did anyone notice at ﬁrst? No, not really. My mom noticed but even when she insisted
in coming into my annual physical with me to ask the doctor about this severe reduction
in weight, he shrugged it off like it was normal. Side note: Doctors donʼt know anything
really about eating disorders (but thatʼs not their area of expertise so itʼs not fair to
blame them) and only about 8% have any training in nutrition.
To everyone else, I was just a guy working hard in the gym and running and doing more
than everyone else because I was training for sports. But it amazes me today that it
took so long for anyone to see my issues? I went from a starting varsity football player
as a freshman, to a sub player in my senior year, the real reason for any playing time I
got being that I just worked so hard and was so committed that the coaches were really
impressed and gave me play time.
But didnʼt it seem weird that this kid was in the gym on saturday mornings and refused
to run in anything but sweat pants, cold gear under armor, and 2 t shirts? I played it off
as, “if I can train like this, then I can go harder in a game.” Thatʼs crap. Putting ungodly
amounts of time between meals and never eating with my family anymore? Just sad.
But yet, only a few people noticed because, Iʼm a man, and we are not supposed to
“have eating disorders” and “we can eat whatever we want.” With how I was working
out, this should have been true, but I wouldnʼt allow myself. And for the longest time, I
wouldnʼt admit to myself that anything was wrong.
It eventually got to a point where it was noticeable, and after being banned from the Rec
Center at college, I went in-patient to an eating disorder hospital the following summer.
So where am I going? Look for signs. Be there for support. Listen and encourage
healthy living. I can tell you that Iʼve seen guys in the gym getting skinnier and skinnier
and working out at odd hours or for unhealthy amounts of time. Some realize that what
theyʼre doing isnʼt healthy, but some donʼt. Weʼre stubborn dudes and we donʼt have
problems, God forbid eating disorders.
But itʼs not as uncommon as you would think. I had many people reach out to me and
ask about why I was doing what I was and who showed genuine concern, but nothing
ever came of it. Check your friends and prevent these eating disorders from becoming
full ﬂedged by heading them off before they start. If someone had given me the proper
education around nutrition and exercise back then, I guarantee Iʼd be in a different place
EDENS NOTE: Thanks everyone who’s been generous enough to take the time to write up the guest posts this weekend. I’ll be back tomorrow with recaps if I’m not too dishevled.